Cane Changer comes to Mackay

Monday 15 April saw considerable optimism and positivity about the future of the Mackay sugarcane industry with the most recent CANEGROWERS Mackay Board Meeting.

In attendance were members of Project Cane Changer, a CANEGROWERS initiative that aims to recognise growers for their history of practice change and environmental stewardship, while working with growers to ensure an even brighter future for their industry.

The project has been working in the Wet Tropics for the past two years and to date, has seen more than 260 growers commit to setting the record straight about the positive changes taking place on-farm.

With Cane Changer set to move into Mackay in the coming months, following funding by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, that number is likely to increase.

“We are extremely pleased to hear that Cane Changer will be expanded into Mackay throughout 2019,” said CANEGROWERS Mackay Chairman, Kevin Borg.


“It’s a project our Board has been eager to support in the region for quite some time and we’re looking forward to starting the initial design process with the team.”

Cane Changer Project Leader, DR John Pickering, was pleased to see the enthusiasm for the project.

“We’d like to thank CANEGROWERS Mackay for inviting us to join their commitment to leading the design and establishment of the project in the region,” he said.

“We were met with plenty of excitement for the project and we look forward to working with the board in the coming months to help establish Cane Changer in Mackay.”

“We want to ensure the recognition of the industry to measure up to practices taking place on the farm.”

Cane Changer was officially launched in February 2017 and has since been rolled out through Queensland’s Wet Tropics. To date, the project has implemented well over 250 workshops to support local growers and boost participation in the industry programs such as Smartcane BMP.

The project is now set to expand further south which will see the team work closely with local CANEGROWERS officers to establish the project in new districts.

“Cane Changer is driven by the local CANEGROWERS offices in each district,” said Ms McIntosh.

“The support we’ve seen for the project, particularly from CANEGROWERS Mackay, has made it possible to expand the project further south.”

Cane Changer also works with growers to support their continued adoption of practices that benefit both their productivity and the environment - important considerations for the industry both now and into the future.

“We believe projects like Cane Changer and Smartcane BMP are crucial for growers in our region and for our industry as a whole,” said CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri.

“It’s important that we continue to tell our story and show the positive work that’s being done by growers to improve their productivity and protect the environment,” he said.

“Our industry has seen its fair share of challenges in the past, but we’ve always been able to come together and overcome them,” said CANEGROWERS Mackay CEO, Kerry Latter.

“That’s why we think it’s important now more than ever that growers jump on board with programs like Smartcane BMP and Cane Changer to tell their story and demonstrate the great work we are doing.”

What’s next?

In the coming months, the Cane Changer team will be meeting with members of the Mackay cane growing community to co-design and tailor the project for the district with workshops and activities to be implemented from November onwards.

“We’re looking forward to working closely with the Cane Changer team and introducing them to the Mackay community in the coming months,” said Mr Latter.